TBS EDITORIAL: Open Public Practices Welcome News

The official BYU website announcement yesterday that most morning football practices during fall camp will be open to the public came without fanfare or advance notice, but was welcome news for diehard Cougar fans that have yearned for such positive initiatives in recent years. <br> <b><i><a href=http://byucougars.com/football/filings/0000005458_rel.html>Click for BYU's official announcement</a></b></i>

Whoever pushed this through deserves a hearty pat on the back. Interestingly, it comes months after a wide-ranging survey was sent out to many Cougar fans seeking an open, fair and confidential evaluation of its football and Cougar Club programs. If this action is in response to that survey, it is a good sign the right people are listening and responding to their base constituents at BYU.

More intriguing is the fact that it also comes on the heels of an unprecedented and apparently successful multi-faceted marketing campaign by the University of Utah to build its football fan support and develop even closer ties between the community and its new head coach Urban Meyer.

It is notable that BYU coaches – from Gary Crowton on down – are seemingly more available and visible on TV and radio interviews in Utah than in previous years. As Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing."

Well-deserved plaudits go to whomever is guiding or directing this refreshing new era of relationship-building and open communication with BYU's sizable and loyal fan base.

In the "customer-first" or "give-the-customer-what-they-want" mantra or mandate of today's business world, someone got it right in the athletic department administration in Provo. This is exactly what the proverbial doctor ordered after two consecutive losing seasons in Provo.

There is, undoubtedly, a great deal on the line this season for Crowton, his assistants and players. With the daunting early-season schedule against out-of-conference schools like Notre Dame, Stanford and defending national champion USC, the Cougars have their work cut out for them.

Though BYU's focus and No. 1 priority must remain on winning the Mountain West Conference title again, their level of intensity and competitiveness against these high-profile colleges could exponentially and immediately restore the proud tradition that is BYU football.

To their credit, Crowton et al have done a superb job of recruiting a higher caliber of talent across the board to BYU in recent years. The fact they did it despite two consecutive losing seasons speaks volumes about their powers of persuasion and the vision they painted for these highly-coveted signees.

Ironically, we have noted a number of excellent recruits interested in the Cougars that would have automatically been offered scholarships in the past. Some are patiently still awaiting scholarship offers for one simple reason: BYU is effectively in the hunt for better prospects in their "need" positions that typically did not take a first glance, let alone a second look, in the not-too-distant past.

Now the hype must be replaced with actionable evidence that the football program is, indeed, in good hands and pointed in the right direction again: UP.

No one knows what will happen on the field this fall, but one thing is certain: Strengthening ties and long-established relationships with the collective hands that feed the football program (fans) is a great place to start.

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